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BBC Homepage: Rage versus X Factor

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James Price | 15:50 UK time, Friday, 8 January 2010

Rage v X Factor homepage promoThere are moments the nation comes together and it can be interesting to see how this plays out on the BBC homepage. Sometimes you can predict what'll happen, sometimes you can't.

Looking back over 2009, it is not hard to imagine that Obama's inauguration would be a popular live stream as we saw the year in, nor that the cold snap right at the end would attract much clicking of weather and travel updates. But over the festive period we also had a huge peak that I didn't anticipate.

Relatively few of the features we display at the top of the homepage attract more than 40,000 clicks from users before they get replaced. This one got clicked 217,000 times in just 3 hours on Sunday, 20th December. That's an average of twenty clicks per second, making it one of the most popular ever.

The "Rage versus X Factor" race to hit Christmas Number One wasn't confined to ITV and the tabloid press. The BBC also benefitted as people swarmed to Radio 1's Chart Show to find out who won.

Doubtless people would run into news of the winner soon enough, so it's interesting that many still chose to hear it live; to catch the very moment of victory or defeat. Thousands of years on, people still want to gather around the fire place to witness the ceremony reach a climax.

By way of contrast, we featured the Chart Show in exactly the same slot the previous week and it garnered just 9,000 clicks. Climaxes can't be engineered every time then.

James Price is Editor, BBC Homepage.



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